Entering the word ‘contraception’ into a search engine will result in over one million hits, from commercial sites to personal homepages and scientific sites. How can the physician find the information s/he is seeking in this overwhelming labyrinth? This review presents a guideline for quick access to practical professional information in the field of contraception and reproductive health care.

Entering the word ‘contraception’ into a search engine will result in over one million hits, from commercial sites to personal homepages and scientific sites. How can the physician find the information s/he is seeking in this overwhelming labyrinth? This review presents a guideline for quick access to practical professional information in the field of contraception and reproductive health care.

The starting point

The independent website of the European Society of Contraception (ESC),, could be used as an international starting point. This site provides information about forthcoming meetings in the contraceptive field as well as direct access to the Doctor’s Guide showing a comprehensive International congress calendar in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Downloads are also available of selected PowerPoint presentations of past seminars and congresses organised by the ESC. A variety of direct links is given to several non-commercial sites providing useful information for education, presentations and daily practice.

Highlights of a small selection of websites linked from the ESC site will be reviewed.

Contraception Online (
Contraception Online is an online resource for clinicians, researchers and educators. Its interesting slide library provides presentations, downloadable in ZIP files, for which WinZIP software is needed. Presentations can be useful for teaching students, nurses etc.

Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (
This site presents educational reviews and fact sheets on different topics in the field of contraception and reproductive health care. Some clinical guidelines, most of them published in the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care can be found on Furthermore the agenda lists a variety of training courses for workers in family planning centres.

Family Planning Queensland (FPQ) (
The Family Planning Queensland (FPQ) site provides addresses of regional family planning centres in Queensland, Australia, and brochures and fact sheets for patient information and education. FPQ is a registered training organisation offering a wide range of sexual and reproductive health education services and training programmes. The patient information folder gives a brief description of the different methods of contraception. More details on the respective methods are described in special topic folders summarising effectiveness, advantages, disadvantages and possible adverse effects ( menu_contraception.stm). There is also a folder advising on how to choose between the different methods. The brochures can serve as a useful guideline for those preparing patient information fact sheets in their native language.

International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) (
Many family planning associations are mentioned on the US International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) site. The IPPF works for sexual and reproductive health, rights and choices worldwide. The site provides reports from projects throughout the world as well as a complete list of links to national family planning associations. Many of these links are to bilingual (native language and English) sites.

International Federation of Professional Abortion and Contraception Associates (
Since the establishment of the International Federation of Professional Abortion and Contraception Associates in 1997, yearly conferences on issues related to induced abortion have been organised in Europe to teach the surgical and medical techniques as well as discuss the different policies, legislation and structures in countries throughout the world. Reports from the respective conferences are given in five languages: English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. The site also provides several links to non-profit organisations in the field of induced abortion. (
This is a section of, the most visited site in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology. Interesting PowerPoint presentations and selected articles are available on the contraception pages. Most interesting are the forums for professionals ( where users can seek the advice of colleagues worldwide about any gynaecological problem including in the field of contraception and sexual health care. The discussion can be entered at any time, opinions aired and experiences shared. The forum is easily accessible and does not require a password.

World Health Organization (WHO) (
The website of the World Health Organization (WHO) is extensive and provides links to a number of other websites. It takes a lot of time to find specific information. For this reason some direct links in the field of contraception have been selected below.

Improving Access to Quality Care in Family Planning, Second Edition, 2001 ( RHR_00_2_medical_ eligibility_criteria_second_edition/index.htm)
This report sets out detailed criteria for matching individual family planning clients medically with their preferred contraceptive method. Choice of contraceptive can pose a particular problem in patients with multiple risk factors. The report can help to provide a solution for the individual patient, even those suffering from multiple diseases. Answers are given as to what contraceptive advice should be given to breastfeeding women, after pregnancy or abortion, or in obese or diabetic women. The report is also available in French.

Technical Report Series on Family Planning (
The WHO bookshop features many reports on specific topics including those in the field of family planning. More material is given on Sexual and Reproductive Health (
Since adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health needs differ from those of adults in many ways, this special site is important for those working in the field of adolescent education and treatment. It informs about ongoing research projects in a number of countries, addressing topics ranging from risk behaviours, dual protection and sexual coercion to health-seeking behaviours of adolescents and providers’ perspectives on reproductive health services for adolescents. Furthermore many sample core instruments such as sample surveys, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews can be found here as well as instruments on aspects of adolescent sexual and reproductive behaviour.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) (
The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) was established in 1968 to provide research, policy analysis and education in the fields of reproductive health, reproductive rights and population. It was named after Alan F. Guttmacher (1898–1974), a distinguished obstetrician/gynaecologist, author and leader in reproductive rights. AGI publishes Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, International Family Planning Perspectives, The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy and special reports on topics pertaining to sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Institute’s mission is to protect the reproductive choices of all women and men in the United States and throughout the world. It is to support their ability to obtain the information and services needed to achieve their full human rights, safeguard their health and exercise their individual responsibilities in regard to sexual behaviour and relationships, reproduction and family formation.

The website of the AGI features extensive reports on topics such as induced abortion, contraceptive use, law and policy. Most reports are available as HTML and PDF files. Some reports can be downloaded as PowerPoint presentations.

The Internet provides excellent and extensive information about contraception to professionals throughout the world. It is a very fast-growing source of information, education and training that can help physicians update their knowledge and skills and provide their patients with high-standard and reliable information.

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